Join Paul F. Aubin for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating seed families, part of Revit: Family Curves and Formulas.
The first step in creating any new piece of family content is to choose your template file. Software ships with several family templates, each of which conveys certain behaviors and characteristics on the family you're creating. Sometimes when you're creating a new piece of family content, you will need to customize several of the initial settings and build a basic framework. If you're creating several similar families, they can all benefit from this initial setup. So in this movie, I'd like to discuss the concept of the seed family to give our content a convenient starting point.
So essentially all a seed family is is a family that we've gone in and made a few customizations to and saved it, and then the next time we want to start a family with the same set of initial settings, we just open that seed family and do a Save As. So in a way it's like creating a custom template. So I'm here in Revit looking at my recent file screen. And you can create a new family in one of two ways. You can use the new link here on the recent files under the family section, or you can open your Application menu and go to >New >Family.
Either one's going to do the same thing. It's going to open up the Select Template File window. Now depending on your installation of Revit, you may or may not see the same family templates. But most versions of the software ship with several basic templates including the generic model template. And I'm going to start this first example just using the most basic generic model template file. Click Open here and that will load up that template. Now when it loads up it's actually loading for Windows in the background.
So if I type the letters w + t that's short for window tile. You'll see it tile all four of those windows onscreen. Then I'm going to do z + a to maximize each of those windows or zoom each of them to extents. The next thing that I want to do is address the units. So, for the most part, for the content we're going to be building here in this course, I don't really want to work in any specific unit. Now you have to set a unit for your files so you have to choose some unit, but what I'm going to do is simplify the unit down to just a decimal unit so that it doesn't really matter if I'm talking about feet or inches or miles or meters.
So, I do that on the Manage tab. So I'm going to go to Manage and click the Project Units button. Here, I get several kinds of units. We're going to change the length unit. So I'm going to click the Edit button next to that, and change this to decimal feet. After I do that, I want to round it off to three decimal places. And you'll see the format displayed for me right here. So from now on, when I talk about numbers or any numerical values, I'm not going to talk about them in feet or in inches or in meters.
I'm just simply going to say how many units they are. And then we're just going to simply input that value as a whole number. And Revit will take care of the rest behind the scenes. So let me click OK there. And let me demonstrate what that's done for us. If I go to the Create tab, one of the most common first things you do when creating a new family is lay down some reference planes. So if I come over here on the datum panel and choose the reference plane button, r + p is the shortcut, and draw a vertical reference plane over to the left, I'm just drawing it parallel to that center line, you can see that the number that that dimension displays is formatted in three decimal places.
And now I'm going to click in that number, and I'm just going to round that off to a nice whole number of two units. I'll do the same thing in the horizontal direction. Draw a reference plane, click in the dimension, round that off to two units. Click the Modify tool to cancel. Select each of these reference planes and mirror them around the center. And so you can see that, every time I get a number it's going to be displayed in just whole units so we can avoid worrying about what kind of unit it is in that case. Now the next thing I want to do is take this a little bit further.
In the concept of a seed family, you're thinking about those things that you're going to want to reuse over and over again in each of the families you create from this seed. So we've got these basic reference planes, and let's compare them to the reference planes that were already here in the file. The ones that were already here have names like center front back and center left right. They're also pinned and they're set to define the origin. So the intersection of these two reference planes defines the origin of this family. When we click the ones that we created, they are not pinned.
They do not define origin and they don't have a name. Now I don't want them pinned or defining the origins. So those two behaviors are fine. But what I do want to do is come over here to the properties palette and give them names. So I'm going to call this one right, call this one left, this one is back, and this one will be front. So now they have these little name labels that appear right there. Next I'm going to add some dimensions. So I'll just choose my aligned dimension, d + i is the shortcut.
I'll go from the back to the center to the front, place it right here. From back skipping center and going right to front, and then the same thing in this direction. Left to center to right. And then left to right skipping the center. The first thing you'll notice is that the numbers are all really small and a little difficult to read. I did change the units in the file to decimal, but you'll probably notice here on the View Control bar that the scale of the view is still listed in imperial units. So if that bothers you, you could always change the file to metric.
But, this is the only time we're going to have to worry about that setting. Generally speaking, if you change the scale in the family editor, the result is to just simply make the text easier to read. So I've changed the scale to quarter inch equals a foot, and that makes the text larger and easier to read. In fact, I'm going to do that in each of these windows. And you can see the level head gets larger in each of those windows, now in the 3D view it's not really necessary because there's no annotation there, so it really doesn't change anything in the 3D view.
Back to my floor plan view, what I want to do is establish the behaviors for each of these dimensions. So I'm going to select the two unit, two unit dimension and click the little EQ toggle to make that an equality dimension And I'll do the same thing in this direction. Then I'm going to select the four unit dimension, and up here on the Options bar, I want to click this drop down for Label. Click the Add Parameter option and give this new label a name. And I'm going to call this one simply w for with.
going to leave it at type parameter, leave it under dimensions, and click okay. And I'll select this one and repeat the process, labeling that as d. And click OK. So I now have a width and a depth that are both defined as a parameter. To make sure that everything's working the way that I expect, I can simply click on the dimension, click right in that label and type a new value. And you can see that when I change it to five, the two reference planes get a little bit further apart and if I set it back to four, they come back together.
So, things are working the way that I expect them to. So, at this point I'm going to save the file and this is going to become the starting point for my seed. Now we're not completely done with the process, we're going to finish it in the next movie. So when we save it here we're going to be saving it as a progress file that we'll pick up on and complete in our next movie. So I'm going to go to my Application menu, my big R. Choose Save. You can place this anywhere you want. I'm just going to put mine on my desktop and I'm going to call it GM for generic model seed intermediate just to remind myself that it's not finished yet.
Click Save and that creates that file. So creating a seed family is as simple as starting with a basic template that has the category and overall parameters you want. Adding to it any of the settings that you'd think you're going to reuse over and over again from one family to the next. And then saving it with a good descriptive name. In the next movie, we'll add a few more settings to this and finish it up.
- Creating seed families
- Creating circles, ellipses, and arcs
- Controlling rotation
- Working with segmental and elliptical arches
- Using profile families
- Working with cyma curves
- Using fixed proportion and scaling